The South African government must step up
Iqbal Jassat’s article (Politicsweb 17 February 2016) is a plea for the government to follow the ANC’s firmness in supporting the Palestinian cause and passing resolutions to bolster this support. Jassat's position is clearly one of total victory by the Palestinians over the Israelis to achieve a one state solution which would see the destruction of the Jewish state, with a contribution by ‘Zuma’s machine gun’.
A government is always in a very different position to a political party. Its perspective has to be wider and more inclusive than supporting one side over another.
The South African government, including the ANC, have always held a unique position with regard to the resolution of conflict. Or rather they could have if they lived up to the oft-expressed reputation for settling that most egregious of conflicts, apartheid. The ANC has been lauded universally for negotiating a definite end to apartheid rather than continuing to pursue an end through violence which guaranteed nothing.
Prior to the constitutional negotiations, the liberalisation of industrial relations in the 1980s allowed South African business and labour to understand and develop negotiation as the given method for handling industrial disputes. This process formed the basis of the skills of the ANC’s negotiators. The lessons learned from this period were universal.
Each party comes to a negotiation with its own strengths and weaknesses. And yet each party must be accorded the same respect in the negotiations. It is in plain terms a process of give and take. Process is as vital to successful mediation as substance.